Tuesday, October 22, 2019 / 08:38 PM / Ottoabasi Abasiekong for Proshare WebTV / Header Image Credit: Proshare WebTV
Stakeholders have called for increased awareness of the activities of the Port Service Support Portal, PSSP to deepen the efficiency of operations at Nigeria's wharfs.
The opinion was part of the key resolutions at the Abuja Maritime Roundtable session organised by the Convention on Business Integrity (CBi) in partnership with the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network, MACN.
The forum, which explored service delivery at the ports with the main thrust on improving standard operating procedures, featured an engaging panel session that reviewed the impact of the Port Services Support Portal, PSSP.
The anchor of the event and CEO of CBi Nigeria, Mr Soji Apampa, said the forum provided an opportunity to advance discussions on driving efficiency at the nation's sea terminals.
The Coordinator of the Port Service Support Portal, PSSP, Mr. Moses Fadipe, said it was an industry mechanism that provided a platform for engagement between government agencies in the maritime sector and their customers.
Mr. Fadipe said that the PSSP served as a Data reference framework to guide policy formulation in how the ports and terminals should function effectively.
He also noted that so far, the Portal had received about 400 requests for service support and resolution from operators in the industry.
Fadipe called for a coordinated approach amongst the regulatory agencies in the area of aligning the SOPs and best practices.
The President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, Mr. Babatunde Ruwase, from a private sector perspective, agreed that there was a need for more awareness of PSSP activities to promote transparency in port operations.
Mr. Ruwase also emphasized the need for a process that allows the LCCI and other trade groups to track and monitor the impact of the resolutions of issues on the PSSP.
Also contributing to the panel session, the General Manager, Legal of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Mrs. Eniola Williams noted that corrupt practices prevail in systems that encourage discretionary powers and that the way forward for the maritime sector is to entrench standard operating procedures, SOPs, that guarantee proper governance and accountability.
She assured stakeholders that the NPA was committed to driving best practices and standards at seaports and terminals, and will continue to work with co-regulators to achieve it.
On his part, Mr. Demola Bakare, of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offences Commission, ICPC, informed the forum that the Anti-graft agency was working on Anti-corruption policies that would be enmeshed in the operations of the compliance units of regulatory agencies within the maritime sector.
Mr. Bakare urged the regulatory agencies to step up their game in addressing the issues of infractions and corrupt practices in the sector.
The representative of the Nigerian Maritime Safety Agency, NIMASA, Mr. Anthony Oboma, stressed the need for increased awareness and publicity on the activities of the PSSP.
He also called for SOPs that have a broad-based approach and capability to address the systemic issues in the maritime sector.
Giving his remarks at the event the Head, Collective Action for the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network, Mr. Vivek Menon, said the roundtable was an opportunity to explore how the service delivery at the ports, can become effective and efficient and an integral part of Nigeria's goal of improving its ease of doing business environment.
Menon stated that the MACN with members in about 125 countries, has developed and shared a practical tool with collective action on ensuring transparency in the maritime business.
One of the examples of the initiatives that the MACN has supported and developed in Nigeria is the Port Service Support Portal, PSSP.
Further, Apampa outlined details of a Nigerian Port Integrity Index, which he said would be developed to drive accountability in the industry.
He also noted that CBi Nigeria would sustain advocacy and publicity while developing toolkits for the private sector maritime industry.
Apampa said that to address issues like cargo clearance, the Integrity organization would work towards providing Apps, which would help SOPs in the industry.
At the end of the roundtable session, regulators and stakeholders agreed that there was a need for a periodic review of the standard operating procedures of the regulatory agencies at the port and terminals to drive efficiency and accountability.